‘McCAGE’: NOT EXACTLY A WELCOMING ENVIRONMENT OPINIONS P. 11
PHOENIX VOL. 138, NO. 4
IS ‘LEAGUE OF LEGENDS’ A SPORT?
SEPTEMBER 26, 2013
LIVING & ARTS P.8
The official campus newspaper of Swarthmore College since 1881
Several initiatives advance through StuCo
A facelift for Clothier
Council says it aims to make itself more accessible, transparent
bells to be restored; some students climb the scaffolding
By TIFFANY KIM News Writer
By LINDSAY HOLCOMB News Writer Concealed in scaffolding and surrounded by fences blocking its entrance, Clothier Tower has recently appeared more like an eyesore than an iconic piece of the College’s architectural history. As the site of the college bookstore, Essie Mae’s, the Intercultural Center, and the Student Budget Office, the tower has for many years been an essential hub of campus life. Since August, however, the College has been on a mission to completely refurbish the tower and restore it to its original grandeur that dates back to the 1920s. According to Ralph P. Thayer, director of maintenance at the college, the project started last spring when maintenance noticed “severe degradation,” believed to be caused by water damage, in the stone at the base of the tower. Given the historic status of Clothier Tower as one of the first structures erected on campus, the college immediately began plans for restoration, allocating a $1.1 million budget for the project. Thayer and his team of associates solicited bids from multiple construction companies last spring Kavya Gopal/The Phoenix
Continued on Page 4
Wellness and theater center project proceeds quickly
Squash court building to be demolished soon By JOHN PROIOS News Writer
Last Tuesday, college representatives met with Swarthmore Borough officials for a planning and zoning review of a plan to take down the current squash courts and replace that space with a new building designed for wellness, athletics, and theater. The college will build a new wellness center on top of the old foundations, using as much of the old wood as possible. The building is intended to serve as a multipurpose space tailored for use by athletics, wellness, and theater.
“There’s a space in it for theater rehearsals and classes, [as well as for] for weight training and fitness training for our athletes that will be shared. It’s designed to supported our athletic teams, though not exclusively.” There should also be a “big open space that can be used for dance, or aerobics, or yoga, or aerobics, or lots of things. It serves our wellness efforts and it serves our training efforts, and it has a component of it that serves our theater program. So it’s a real multi-use building. It will replace the fitness center that’s in the Mullen tennis center now, and
that space then will be available for other fitness and wellness programs,” Hain said. The last review is a part of the ongoing project to receive approval from local officials. “After that review, it goes to the borough council to decide whether they agree that it’s an okay project to do. And that will be in October.” Stu Hain, vice president of facilities and services, said. Construction is tentatively scheduled to start in the next month, and the school hopes to have it completed by next August. Continued on Page 3
Currently operating three members short of full council, Student Council (StuCo) is working on ambitious initiatives that include reforming student government, discussing the college’s recent policy changes, and deliberating student access to Philadelphia. In addition, StuCo plans to hold emergency elections to fill vacant positions on the council. In response to the announcement of a revised party policy and new interim sexual assault and harassment policies, StuCo plans to hold two separate forums to address student concerns and questions with regards to policy changes. The first forum, which is tentatively scheduled the week before fall break, will address the new party policy and may include appearances from both Michael Elias, the new student activities coordinator ,and Michael Hill, the director of Public Safety. There are also plans to hold an information session before the second forum on the new interim sexual assault and harassment policy to ensure that students fully understand the manner in which the policy will be implemented. Following any informational session, an opportunity for students to express their views on the policy will be available. StuCo President Gabriella Capone ’14 is excited for the work ahead. She is hoping to have a portion where StuCo will moderate a discussion where people can express their thoughts and concerns where they feel comfortable. “We’re hoping that this will be educational — so, where appropriate, having faculty and staff speak about the current policies
THE SACKING OF PAOLO DiCANIO SPORTS P.12
— but at the same time, providing a student-only space where students can really communicate their thoughts to us and then we can liaise between students and the administration,” she said. One major item on the agenda for Student Council is the planned reintroduction of the Student Senate, which had its first trial run in the spring 2013 semester. “We’re going to try and restructure all of student government essentially,” Capone said. “So this is in the works and still requires talking to a lot of people but ideally by next semester, student government would be running in a more cohesive structure, in that it will basically be more Continued on Page 4
LIVING & ARTS
Delving into the ethics of swooping For the past few weeks, the rumor mill has buzzed with one word. It seems to seep through most happenings and pieces of gossip: swooping. The Kohlberg coffee bar is host to hushed whispers of “did that re-
TOM CORBANI THE SPECTRUM ally happen last Saturday?” and “so was he any good?” (although that might just be me). The looming date of fall break, after which supposedly all hell will let loose on freshmen as the swooping ban ends, lurks in the background, approaching all the more as each day passes. This may seem like a slight dramatization, but the situation as I experience it isn’t that far off. My question is therefore twofold: why all the fuss, and more specifically why the guilt and shame associated with what could just be a cheeky one time bang? When I refer to swooping guilt, I’m looking at those upperclassmen who maintain that it is unethical to pick up freshmen before fall break since they’re vulnerable as they adapt to a new environment. I take issue, because this guilt presupposes Continued on Page 5
September 26, 2013
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Diversity report promises changes in and outside of the classroom By AMANDA EPSTEIN Managing Editor
The Diversity and Inclusion report, drafted to develop a “diversity, inclusivity, and engagement project that will transform the College into a model workplace and residential learning community in an increasingly complex global world” under the college’s Strategic Plan, has raised questions about what diversity and inclusivity will look like on this campus. The report is a preliminary proposal, and was intentionally introduced to the community as such. “We wanted the community as a whole to really chime in on it, discuss it broadly,” said Dean of Students Liz Braun. As the semester goes on, Provost Tom Stephenson, in fact, will help facilitate discussions on the suggestions outlined. The administration will also be asking department heads to hold discussions with their colleagues to see how each field might engage with the efforts outlined in the report. Braun and Associate Dean of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Development, Lili Rodriguez, hope to have a “road show” to converse with different student organizations, including StuCo, and engage with students on an individual basis. “Every e-mail [we receive] is important. If you get multiple emails on the same topic, there’s amplification there,” said Braun. “But I think even one e-mail that helps us think differently or critically is important.” Rodriguez thinks that apart from expanding efforts to hire a more diverse staff and adding classes focused on diversity, the Swarthmore community needs to capitalize on the diversity that the college has worked to establish
thus far. Unlike other colleges, she argues, Swarthmore has had the financial resources to diversify, and the challenge is now making that diversity a central, working part of the community. Part of the effort in making “diversity work” lies in assessing the climate at the college, an endeavor that will begin this coming spring. “Climate assessments are going to help us get to the nitty gritty of where the critical tensions are on campus,” said Rodriguez. “It’s no longer about the community singing kumbaya at the top of the mountain, it’s about figuring out what’s working and what’s not... We need an assessment that focuses on the individual’s relationship to the community.”
What compelled me to take this position was that unlike at most institutions, Swarthmore puts the dean of diversity in the center of the structure. Swarthmore will need to primarily address what’s happening within academics in order to establish the sense of belonging that Rodriguez claims is a “key point” in forming an inclusive community. The report suggests creating classes that fulfill a “diversity” requirement, like some classes fulfill a writing requirement. But
Jasper Haoyu Wang/The Phoenix
The new Assistant Dean of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Development believes a community is inclusive only if every individual can claim it as their own. focusing on existing dynamics in the classroom and curricula may prove to be just as important. “We need to think pretty hard about [what happens in the classroom],” said Provost Tom Stephenson. “[We need to make sure that] the voice at the front of the classroom is bringing the voices that represent the spectrum of perspectives in American and international academia.” Stephenson also believes that the the structures of curricula across departments on campus need to be examined. According to the Provost, it might be helpful for the faculty to come together to learn the best teaching practices from each other, and what kinds of amendments to the curricula might be necessary. “The idea that we should have some type of fund specifically focused on curricular innova-
tion [has been considered],” said Braun. “There’s a small working group [of faculty] that’s thinking about different options. They want to be a part of it. They want to help their students. They’re dedicated to Swarthmore.” Rodriguez insists that Swarthmore has traditionally been in a position to be a leader in changing societal dynamics. “What compelled me to take this position was that unlike at most institutions, Swarthmore puts the dean of diversity in the center of the structure. Most other colleges keep these positions at the periphery of campus,” she said. “Swarthmore said ‘We’re committed to it, we’re going to put it at the center, we need to be a leader in this area.’ Maybe we’re struggling, we’re having these growing pains, but I do think the leadership right now is saying let’s more than survive this... It’s
taking this critical moment, and rather than being reactive, it’s being proactive.” Braun insists that students are also to thank for this proactiveness. They raised many of the issues the diversity report addresses. “We’re grateful to a host of students that have brought vision and a host of clarity to what are complex issues,” she said. Still, she encourages every student to read the report, and to continue talking about it amongst friends and within student groups; to keep coming up with suggestions. “Part of inclusion is not having any of these issues result in an ‘us’ versus ‘them,’ [situation]” said Stephenson. “I think having faculty talk with students and students talk with staff, having a commonality of purpose around these issues would be helpful.”
September 26, 2013 PAGE 3
Allyship in Action inaugurated as new Intercultural Center group By CLAIRE YANG News Writer
Addressing the friction that troubled the college last spring, a new Intercultural Center group, Allyship in Action, intends to catalyze conversations among Swarthmore communities. The dialogue that was initiated to address issues of disrespect towards the Intercultural Center and the Queer society is now to be continued and expanded through the group. “It seemed that there was a lot of frustration, because certain groups felt like their identities were being disrespected and that wasn’t being addressed properly and it led to a lot of really high emotions and frustrations, so this is really just a continuation of the dialogue from last spring,” Isabella A. Smull ‘16, a co-founder of the group said. Foremost, Allyship in Action hopes to rebuild trust throughout the Swarthmore community by fostering an environment where communication among different communities are open and encouraged. These communications would take the form of weekly meetings, facilitated discussions and workshops. The weekly meetings, open to everyone, are intended to be informal conversations. It is to serve as a brewing ground for frank, constructive dialogues. “It’s really hard for people to articulate…[the] underlying frus-
trations that people have,” It is difficult for people to articulate the underlying frustration that people have Smull said. “So hopefully these discussions will really just get everything out in the open cause if you can pinpoint the issues that’s when you can actually start to try to make moves to address them.” The group plans to hold facilitated discussions facilitated by Swarthmore professors will direct conversations to issues ranging from race to gender and sexuality. On October 2, the group will hold its first facilitated discussion led by Professor of Religion Mark Wallace and Professor of Sociology Nina Johnson on race. With these facilitated discussion, the goal is to educate and assist communities in acquiring the language respectful to neighboring communities. “By understanding the language, a language that makes a space safe, we can hopefully have organic conversations spring up,” Christen B. Hayes ‘16, a co-founder of the club said. The Allyship may take on a more proactive role by reaching out to communities that haven’t been involved with the IC or the BCC before but are willing to. At times, the club will invite previously unacquainted groups or “unlikely allies” to participate in workshops together as well. According to Hayes, these actions are not intended to force al-
Jasper Haoyu/The Phoenix
Christen Boas Hayes and Isabella Smull, members of Allyship in Action, outside the Intercultural Center. liances or opinions on groups. “The Allyship isn’t really supposed to be about forcing your opinions and the experiences you don’t already have on others,” he said. Brianna Serrano, the interim director of the Intercultural Center and adviser to the group hopes that Allyship in Action will ultimately bring awareness to the communities of the fact that there are multiple identities that people can relate to. “It’s important to consider that
there are people that are differently abled, that are of a different socioeconomic status, that [...] have different cross identities and so making it known that there are multiple identities that people can be allies to [is important],” Serrano said. “Just because somebody may have a cross identity doesn’t mean that they don’t have a privilege or can be an ally to another group of people.”
‘Squash courts,’ continued from page 1 The school hopes to soon have open floor plans and viewing for the community, once everything has been finalized by the college board and approved by the borough. “The design is almost ready for prime time,” Hain said. The removal of the squash courts, however, will have limited effect on Swarthmore Squash, the
campus’s club team. Swarthmore Squash uses the court as a site on which to stage and attract prospective squash players. “We hit around with some of the kids that might be interested in squash at Ride the Tide,” Jason Hua, captain of Swarthmore Squash said. “We used to also do our first round of tryouts at those
The squash courts, soon to be demolished.
courts. Just to see roughly how many people are interested.” Additionally, the lacrosse team often uses the site for informal practices, and students may borrow equipment from the field house and play there. Currently, however, the courts are not designed for international squash play. Since the courts were not de-
signed according to current regulations, the team must practice elsewhere. “We actually don’t use the squash courts here. This year and the year before we played at the Fairmount athletic club, at King of Prussia,” Hua said. “We take a van there on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.”
Izzy Kornblatt/The Phoenix
September 26, 2013
‘StuCo,’ continued from page 1 centralized.” The motivation behind a restructured Student Senate is simple: greater student involvement and a more accurately representative student government. In the past, students have raised concerns about the insular nature of student government at the college. “I feel like it’s the same ten people who do everything, I don’t even know how that happens,” said Amelia Kucic ’15. A three-year member of Student Council, Capone agrees that this is a valid concern. “The real hope with a restructured student government is that we are going to get new students,” she said. “It’s too large for the same people to keep doing it and more people flowing through the system means more people are well versed in what student government is at Swarthmore.” In an effort to better capture the diversity of student opinion and provide effective representation, the council plans to change the format of the Student Senate. “We’re still trying to hammer out a final structure for Student Senate because last semester was a pilot semester and some things worked and some things didn’t,” Student Outreach Coordinator Aya Ibrahim ’15 said. Included in the plans for this final structure are class and dorm representatives. Instead of having a representative from each of the 31 standing committees and ten elected students, the body wants to bring about representation by dorm, granting a senator to every 150 or so students, and by class, with two senators elected from each class year. Ibrahim hopes that these changes will allow for a “truer and more broad representation of the student body.” Part of the plan for the new Student Senate includes the introduction of freshmen senators for the upcoming fall semester. StuCo anticipates that concerns will be raised about the prudence of involving freshmen, who have not yet had the chance to fully understand how to navigate the college and its policies, in student
Zhenglong Zhou/The Phoenix
Student Council meets in Parrish Parolors government. Ibrahim, who served as a member of StuCo during her freshman year, understands why students may be opposed to freshmen representatives. “You have a lot of frantic energy and you’re really excited but you don’t know anything about how things on campus work,” she said. Because of these concerns, StuCo is considering allowing freshmen to hold slightly modified positions on the Senate. For example, limitations could be put in place on what freshmen senators would be allowed to vote on and what they could propose, at least for the fall semester. This would allow first years some time to learn about the workings of student government. Ibrahim said, “For example, if [freshmen senators] put forth a solution that doesn’t work but they don’t know that, then it’s not necessarily a problem or a waste of time because it won’t be voted on.” Members of StuCo believe that it is important to give freshmen a chance to get involved in student
government and to let their opinions be heard. “We want to know: what are freshmen thinking? So they’ll still have that voice and they’ll still be a part of conversation,” Ibrahim said. Beyond the larger work of changing the foundations of student government at the college, Student Council will also explore ways to grant students greater access to Philadelphia and its surrounding areas. As announced in a campus-wide email at the start of the year, Public Safety has discontinued the Philly shuttle, which ran weekly in past years, in the immediate short term. This has spurred Student Council to seriously consider other transportation options, including an expansion of last semester’s highly popular Philadelphia Access Program. The Philly Access Program provided 40 free round-trip SEPTA tickets every week to students, with recipients determined by a lottery. Capone explained that in reforming the program, the Council will consider “breadth
versus cost.” For the coming academic year, StuCo will deliberate between offering tickets at a discounted price — and thereby providing greater availability — and continuing to offer a limited number of free tickets, to be given out by lottery. Last semester saw the introduction of a referendum on opening the balcony on the third floor of McCabe Library. Ibrahim explained that the decision to open the balcony is ultimately in the hands of Facilities Management. “It’s up to facilities and to the administration if they think it might be a matter of safety, then it’s really beyond us,” said Ibrahim. Adriana Obiols ’16 echoes the thoughts of other students when she admitted that she did not know much about the work of StuCo. “For me, they’re a very abstract group of people and I don’t really know who they are,” she said. “I don’t know how much power they have over things, like what kind of decision-making can they carry out.”
In addressing these concerns, StuCo members point to the need for students to make a concentrated effort to pay attention or become involved in campus affairs. “There’s been this loss of faith in what StuCo is capable of doing — I think StuCo is capable of doing a lot of things, it’s just dependent on having a lot of people who want to push for those changes,” said Educational Policy Representative Marian Firke ’14. “Making Swarthmore the place we applied to is about applying ourselves right now and making it that place.” In light of this, both Ibrahim and Capone encourage students to run in the upcoming emergency elections for the Fall 2013 semester. The elections will fill three vacant spots on the council: Campus Life Representative, Student Groups Advisor, and Financial Policy Representative. “Being a part of Student Council enables you to have conversations and to participate in conversations that you might not be aware of otherwise,” Ibrahim said.
dangers of the scaffolding have also troubled administrators. “Students that have been climbing the scaffolding are concerning for safety reasons” said Ibrahim who spoke to Public Safety Director, Michael Hill at a Swarthmore Weekly Activities Table Talk for which she was the Student Council liaison. Ibrahim noted that while Hill was aware of the potential for students to damage the new stones while climbing, his primary concern was student safety. “Its cold and scary, and no one in their right mind should try it,” said an anonymous student who ascended the tower at night. With limited light, Public Safety worries that students pose a higher risk to themselves than they are aware of when they climb the tower, and inclement weather only heightens the risk for a slip
or fall. Still, many students have climbed the tower without fear. “Its so cool!” said another anonymous climber. “You can go even higher than they let you go during senior week!” Though most students appear to have accessed the tower on random weeknights, Ibrahim noted that Public Safety was most concerned with patrolling the tower during weekends. The tower’s close proximity to Paces has concerned Public Safety officers who worry that students will pose a greater risk to themselves if they climb while inebriated. Public Safety has increased patrols around the tower and installed locks that limit access to the scaffolding. Nevertheless, many students have still managed to make it to the top. Ibrahim cautioned against climbing the tower, warning
that when students were caught climbing the scaffolding that was on Parish last fall, they had to go through the College Judiciary Committee. Though there have been no reports of any punishment for students who were caught climbing the scaffolding on Clothier Tower, Public Safety’s increased surveillance of the structure could change this policy. The entire refurbishment should be completed by the end of winter break, and the scaffolding should be down by Thanksgiving. In the meantime, Public Safety hopes that the colder weather will make the climb to the top of Clothier Tower a more daunting task. “Most of all, Mike Hill and the rest of Public Safety want to encourage students not to put themselves at risk,” Ibrahim said.
‘Clothier,’ continued from page one and chose Dan LePore and Sons for their extensive experience restoring historical buildings. “Technically, it’s maintenance repair rather than construction,” Thayer said, who added that the bulk of the work being done on the tower is stone repointing — the meticulous process of replacing aged mortar between stones so that the structure is resistant to water. The surface of each of stone is also being scrubbed clean of algae and mold, while new stones are being put in place of damaged ones. According to Thayer, this aspect of the restoration has gone on without complication. Capitalizing on the opportunity for refurbishment in the tower, the College has also begun a process of restoring the bell and timing mechanism. According to Aya Ibrahim ’15, the student outreach coordinator for Student
Council, until the 1990s, the bell in Clothier Tower used to ring at hourly intervals throughout the day. Due to disrepair, however, the bell has only rung on Garnet weekend and Ride the Tide in recent years. “The college wants to fix the mechanism so that the bell can ring regularly again,” Ibrahim said. This task has proved to be harder than anticipated, however, because the company that originally built the mechanism built only two others like it in the world. Ibrahim, who spoke to Bill Maguire, maintenance manager at the College, added that only recently have the missing parts for the bell arrived after having been shipped from a chapel in England. Replacing the timing mechanism has not been the only area of concern for the college; the
LIVING & ARTS
Not WOWed by imitation butter
It’s certainly true that technology and food are irreparably bound up. If you want to be strict about it, the very thing we call agriculture—modern or ancient—constitutes a tech-
JOSH GREGORY THE EDIBLE THINKER nological advancement over the prehistoric days of hunting and gathering. Of course, the idea of agriculture, or if you like, “the science, art or practice of cultivating the soil, producing crops, and raising livestock and in varying degrees the preparation and marketing of the resulting products” (Webster’s, emphasis added), has been around for awhile. By now, building rudimentary irrigation systems, growing and harvesting crops, raising livestock, preserving and pickling things and even breeding plants and animals (providing there are no test tubes or lab coats involved) is pretty kosher—all you Paleo folks can stuff venison shanks in your ears if you don’t like it! But what about the contemporary fast food industry and the food they produce? What about evolving food culture and social media? What about WOWButter? Are these things merely the latest iteration of the technologically-enhanced food we produce, cook and consume, or is there a tipping point at which technology eclipses food? I think so. Before I go any further, I’d like to make it clear that I—like any reasonable person—am wholly on board with taking measures to reduce the incidence of allergic reactions in people, even if that means removing peanut butter from any and all dining facilities on campus. Food related allergies, especially severe ones, are legitimate and serious disabilities, and we should all be willing to endure what amounts to the most minimal of inconveniences for the sake of the well-being of others. (Just go buy a jar of the most expensive, decadent, unctuous peanut butter you can find from the Co-op and keep it in your room for those really tough days). But I see the solution of WOWButter as an endorsement of an increasingly ominous and malevolent trend: food is getting weird. If you take the time to scrutinize WOWButter, you might notice a few interesting qualities. For one, the name itself is jarringly exclamatory and sounds a bit like something a late night infomercial might spawn. Secondly, and perhaps more curiously, it tastes very remarkably like peanut butter, except of course it isn’t at all. The fact that it has an incredibly similar consistency (though a little excessively creamy, it sticks pretty effectively to the roof of one’s mouth—check!) and color (a light, “nutty” brown) as peanut butter is pretty amazing, but rather disconcerting. Though I am fairly certain I could discern WOWButter’s whiff of overly smoky flavor (oh how that elusive “roasted” taste has continually beguiled flavor scientists!) amongst a line up of real peanut butters, I can’t shake how disingenuous the whole idea of WOWButter is. And here lies the crux of my anxiety: I don’t like food to be an imitation or counterfeit because I think that alienates us from our roots and moves us further from a sense of what’s true and real. Sure, what we consider to be “real” is sort of a relative concept, but I’m a capital “T” Truth person who believes in the eternal nature of certain things—like food. As humans with a collective heritage in rearing plants and animals, we should only eat things that are truly, wholly and recognizably products of those things. There should be as minimal of a dilution, distortion or replication of flavors and textures as is possible lest we lose
our sense of flavor, taste and even, I think, self Perhaps even more troubling is the correlation between the industrialization of food and its tendency to be aggressively—and insanely—marketed. The publishing house McSweeney’s puts out reviews of new foods (aptly titled, “Reviews of New Food”) on their website—told you food and technology were inseparable—which effectively hone in on the creeping sense of foreboding I’m getting at here. Also, these pieces are predictably hilarious and for that alone are worth reading. In Paul Handley’s review of “Envirokidz Peanut Butter Panda Puffs” (they’re a sort of poofy ball of homogenized and indecipherable starch), he concludes that the bizarre nature of the name, “Panda Puffs,” is like “Xmas... which is perfectly nondenominational and recyclable.” In these products’ attempts to draw us in (KIDZ!),
COURTESY OF SOYBUTTER.COM
they betray their true essence—which is that of an extruded, mass-produced, sterile item. Or, as a friend put it, as “something which just shouldn’t exist.” The fact that there is even a concept of “new” food (like a new movie or roller coaster) clues one into the latent absurdity of it all. I concede, though, that the trend itself isn’t new per se. We need only remember the Atomic Age with its fluorescent Jell-O and tickle-me-pink Spam if we wish to shudder over the industrialization of “real” food. As a case in point, Upton Sinclair’s ubiquitous exposé of the meat packing industry in The Jungle, shocked its readers over a century ago, when it was first published in 1906 by chronicling the bubbling vats, fetid flesh and unholy additives that came together to form something that was less meat than it was mutant. But at the same time, I do think the engine of Big Food (a name, like Big Business or Big Agriculture, which connotes the conglomerate shadiness of the enterprises that churn out a lot of these products) has crossed a new paradigm as it colludes with the philosophy of our information-technology, social-media driven, super-ravenous culture to synergistic effect by producing something uniquely unsettling. Just as the internet allows us to traverse the world and have access to the infinite knowledge of our entire civilization without going anywhere or authentically learning something, so too does the philosophy of New Food allow us to have any taste, at any
time, in any combination with any ingredients—except, of course, the natural ones—all without tasting the real thing. Consider PopTarts’ Frosted Confetti Cupcake, Kentucky Fried Chicken’s new deep-fried soup, Doritos’ Jacked Enchilada Supreme, Pizza Hut’s Pepperoni P’zone Pizza, etc, etc. These food “products” are the equivalent of eating peanut butter without peanuts. They’re about as close to cupcakes, soup, enchiladas or calzones as having a friend on Facebook is to having a friend in the real, non-virtual realm. That is to say, they’re holograms. Fake foods. I should, however, address the elephant in the room: aren’t some of these foods good, albeit in a Frankenstein’s monster sort of way? After all, these synthetic creations and additives weren’t painstakingly engineered, lab tested and steadily perfected for nothing— they do appeal to our underlying desire for certain flavors and textural sensations, however artificially. For the sake of journalistic honesty, I should tell you that Handley’s review, which I quoted for my own purposes earlier, ends thusly: “This shit is the good shit.” Let’s also not forget that as the popularity of these sorts of foods increases, so too does their cultural staying power. What good suburban kid doesn’t relish the late night McDonald’s run complete with its drive-thru shenanigans? These things become ingrained and ritualized as much as Thanksgiving dinner. What’s more, tween hooligans aren’t the only ones enamored with egregiously synthetic foodstuffs—lauded and insanely accomplished young chefs are too, but in a way that seeks to marry factory-to-table eating with Haute cuisine. Look no further than Dave Chang—one of the “real chef ” celebrities of the moment—who is head of the Momofuku restaurant empire and has two Michelin stars to his name. Chang authored a recent piece in Wired magazine’s new “Food” issue entitled “On the Joy of Cooking with Science.” And he’s not alone in the pleasure he extracts from cooking with science, nor is he the first to wax poetic about implementing new technologies and chemicals into his food. Decades ago, Ferran Adrià and the Spaniards shocked the world with their provocative, mind-bending molecular gastronomy. So where does this leave us? All things considered, it’s certainly time for people to completely acknowledge that we have entered an unparalleled epoch of singularity in which the line between food and technology is blurred, if not obliterated. Here is the solution: redraw the line. Agriculture and cooking, as much as anything else, are dependent on innovation and should not be made stagnant by antiquated conceptions of what is and isn’t food. As the globe seems to shrink and cultures defy boundaries, new and excited crops and cuisines emerge and fuse. In this sense, a concept of newness is not only helpful, but essential. However, it’s when food is treated like mere merchandise in the hands of unethical corporations and sleazy advertising executive, or—in the case of WOWButter and Panda Puffs—becomes a bogus substitute or freaky deformation that it starts to morph into a neutered, lifeless item. It is at that point, even if these sorts of foods taste good, that we have truly crossed the threshold by bastardizing the sacred. Food needs to be whole and unaltered, like our blood and bones, because it is through the act of consuming it that we nurture our bodies and truly preserve our humanity. That connection cannot, in any way, be replicated nor should it be encroached upon.
September 26, 2013 PAGE 5
‘Swooping,’ continued from page 1
a narrow and ageist construction of sexual dynamics by which older means active and younger, passive. This may seem reductionist, but would swooping really be an issue if a stereotyped sexual situation involved a freshwoman with dom tendencies who, having initiated interactions with an interested junior, calls him her little bitch playfully and is then readily followed back to her room (to the despair of her roommate who was trying to watch New Girl)? The trope at work with swooping guilt has been around for ages, and toyed with for just as long (for any Shakespeare buffs, “As You Like It”’s Rosalind? Gotta love a cross-dressing female lead who calls out her lover’s conformist bullshit). I’m still slightly perturbed by how such a washedout trope can play such a large role in Swat’s dating scene. I assume that part of it has to do with the common perception (and in some ways, reality) that freshmen are vulnerable and somewhat malleable as they adapt to a new environment. But can a new bedroom and the reality of pasta bar make you forget that you like holding girls down and hearing them beg for more as you tantalisingly caress the area above her clit? And aren’t ASAP workshops and the likes meant to prepare the freshpeople for the potential dangers of college dating? The most ridiculous story that I’ve heard was a sophomore explaining to a friend that he liked her, but refused to do anything until after fall break. Seriously? I highly doubt that she’ll realise over break that her attraction was an illusion, making a mental note of thanking this guy for giving her time to find her true desires. Sure, what she wants will change with time, buthave some faith in her. Her desires most likely won’t change that quickly. Even if they did, she’s a big girl now and can make the decision for herself. Although he could be trying to keep her eager, in which case smooth (middle school) moves, Sophomore Boy. Real smooth. As much as I sound like I’m calling for a complete overhaul of the concept, I believe there is some validity in the reluctance to “swoop.” If you take swooping literally, and like a bird of prey you dive towards the baby fishies of your dating pool, you should definitely cut that out and stop watching National Geographic. Spotting a new queer boy at the first SQU meeting and convincing him to come find you at pub night the next day for a few laughs, where you proceed to be friendly over a few too many beers before unexpectedly inviting him back to yours, is slimy and could even be coercive. If swooping involves lack of consent, then of course it’s a fucking issue, point blank. The generalisation of the phenomenon into the situation described above is a facet of rape culture and is so not gucci. Some people in this school apparently need to learn that everyone can give consent, and that they should respect it. Now I of course speak from the limited perspective of my own situation, some fresher gay boy who arrived pretty happy with what he wanted his sex life to be. Which isn’t to say everyone is in my situation– some people probably appreciate a few breather weeks before they get down and dirty. As the old saying goes, different strokes (or positions) for different folks, and that shouldn’t mean an upperclassman should take a month and a half long chastity vow with a quarter of the campus just to be safe. As scary as it may sound, it looks like some common sense and good judgement might be necessary in identifying who your potential sexual partners will be. And once that’s done, who knows, you may be pleasantly surprised by a couple of tricks these freshers have up their sleeves. We’re all swatties after all, and we must have been picked for something.
LIVING & ARTS
September 26, 2013
Just doing our jobs By ANNA LEE Living & Arts Writer
While Swarthmore students are notorious for being over-involved, students somehow manage to find time between classes, clubs and board meetings to add another activity to the list: a job. The reallife activity of participating in the workforce has permeated the Swat bubble, with students finding a variety of places to spend some extra time to earn some extra cash. Regardless of prior experience and interests, students are finding various jobs to further enrich their lives. Cecilia Paasche ’16 has had a variety of odd jobs on campus. Perhaps most interestingly, Paasche has worked as a clothed model for Randall Exon’s figure drawing class once a week on Thursdays. Luckily, she was not required to hold a pose for the entire three hour class; another model would pose on Tuesdays, and Paasche’s role was to help art students fill in parts of their work. “Sometimes they would need specific poses or part of the body so I’d provide a wrist or something,” Paasche said. Outside of her career as a parttime model, Paasche has worked for the Phone-a-Thon once or twice a week. She and other students call alumni to talk to them about the alumni fund and to ask them to make donations to the school. “It’s been really fun to work on the Phone-a-Thon,” she says. “You can get into really interesting conversations about their time at Swarthmore or what they’ve been doing since they graduated.” Paasche had prior experience interning at a magazine company and views her skills of answering phones and contacting people for information as helpful experience for this job. “Working at the magazine really helped,” she says. “After that experience, any residual phone fear I had left was gone.” During her freshman year, Paasche also used her prior tutoring experience from high school to work as a French tutor for her fellow students. This job was more flexible and she would only work when students requested help through the French program. She also works as a gallery monitor for the Lang Performing Arts Center’s exhibits. She found out about the job after working for Alumni
Weekend and primarily works on answering questions and providing information to visitors. Ali Roseberry-Polier ’14 is paid to work in garbage and foodwaste. She is one of two paid compost workers who works with seven assistants to run daily compost runs to all the eateries on campus from Sharples to Essie Mae’s, from Kohlberg to the Science Center. Each day, Roseberry-Polier says they collect approximately three or four 20 gallon buckets of food scraps and a 40 gallon bucket of compostable dishware. As an active part of Swarthmore’s Ecosphere club, Roseberry-Polier has been interested in composting as a way of decreasing Swarthmore’s waste. As a compost coordinator on campus, she says the experience has “given me an a greater appreciation for compost. I think it’s really cool that we can divert so much waste each day. It’s a way that we can give back and I think that’s really exciting.” The compost collected from campus is then used in the school garden, a visible manifestation of composts’ benefits. The program also has spread to include the dorms, where Green Advisors put compost bins outside of their doors to collect food scraps from hall residents. Two coordinating Green Advisors are another part of the paid positions funded through the Lang Sustainability. Another green related job takes another approach. Patrick Ammerman ’14 served as a liaison for the Sustainability Committee his junior year. The committee consists of faculty, staff, administrators and students and works to assist students in their ideas to make campus more sustainable. As the student liaison, Ammerman took notes at meetings which were held three times a semester, maintained the Committee’s webpage, coordinated with student leaders in EcoSphere and sent out weekly newsletters from the EcoSphere digest. Ammerman discovered the job at the beginning of the semester when the position was open. It allowed him to work somewhat independently and also on behalf of the committee. “I learned a lot about the school administration
and the committee system,” says Ammerman, “and it gave me a chance to work more with EcoSphere and help them to accomplish their goals and strengthen.” Ammerman left the position to leave it available for other students because “it’s a great opportunity and is unique in combining environmental issues and allows students to be directly involved in the committee system.” Many students also find employment through the various libraries on campus. Desheane Newman ’14 has worked at McCabe since his freshman year. He found the job during orientation week at the job fair and has worked six or more hours in the library every semester since then. Newman has learned a lot about the library and has become familiar with the book system by helping patrons
It has deﬁnitely opened my eyes to the real world which is something we don’t necessarily get in classrooms. check out and find books. Aside from learning about the functionality of the library, Newman learned other useful skills. “I used the job as social time,” says Newman. “I was able to interact with a lot of people and worked on my communication skills in general.” Perhaps the most positive aspect of a library job for Newman and other students is the immense flexibility it offers amidst a hectic schedule of classes and extracurriculars. “If I feel really exhausted,” says Newman, “someone can usually take over my shift and the library understands. On slow days, I can even do my homework or reading during my shift.” Some students find opportunities to work off campus as well. Despite the commute, students such as Alejandra Barajas ’15 find employment outside of the
Swarthmore community and manage to make it work in their schedule. Barajas has been working at an immigration law office in Media since the beginning of her freshman year. She takes a shuttle to get to work and this year manages to fit about six hours a week into her schedule. Previously, she worked approximately 12 hours a week, but now also works as a PA coordinator on campus, limiting the time she is able to spend at the law office. The job allows her to get away from the Swat bubble while also remaining involved on campus. “I found out about the job through the Reserved Student Digest,” she says. “I’m thinking about going into law school and the description was for a bilingual administrative assistant which fit what I was looking for.” She decided to send in a resumé and was called in for an interview and got the job without any prior job experience. She now has experience and is able to be involved in the legal process by filling out forms, contacting clients, translating, compiling evidence, and creating cover letters. “I had wanted to go into law before,” she says, “and now that I’ve seen how we resolve issues, seeing families reunited and couples allowed to stay in country together, I definitely feel like this is something worthwhile for me to pursue.” Barajas feels like it has been a significantly enriching experience for her. “It has definitely opened my eyes to the real world,” she says, “which is something we don’t necessarily get it in classrooms. I’ve gained everyday work experience. It might not be for everyone but it has been especially valuable for me.” As a first-year, Uriel Medina ’16 worked a hodgepodge of odd jobs around campus. His first semester, he was a van driver for the Lang Center and as a short-order cook at Paces Café; his second semester, he worked as a co-director at Paces and occasionally as a babysitter. This semester, he works at Sharples and a reception manager for the Lang Center. “I usually work at least fifteen hours a week,” says Medina. “It can be tough as I’m part of vari-
ous exec boards, but I think that ultimately having a campus job grounds you because I feel like if you have tons of free time it makes it easier to procrastinate. If I know I have class from this time to this time, I have work from this time, to this time then I need to prioritize and get work done.” Medina has especially gained a new perspective from his job at Sharples. He’s enjoyed working with the staff and has come to appreciate their role significantly more. He says that, “The people who work at Sharples really want to get to know students. Being on the other side of the glass, I realize that Swatties aren’t always the most polite to people who facilitate our lives and make our lives easier. People might not say ‘hi’ or ‘thank you.’” Working at Sharples can also be especially challenging since staff must constantly be on their feet for several hours and the serving areas become very hot from the food. The job is also a chance for Medina to interact with other people. “I really enjoy seeing all the Swatties,” he says. “I’ve met a lot of people who stop be because they recognize me from Sharples. It’s a nice opportunity to say hi and catch up.” Medina’s previous experience in food service came from his time at Paces Café. “Working at Paces was probably my favorite job,” he says “but it was also the most stressful. Having a hand in running it was very tiring and I have so much respect for the people who work to make sure it’s open.” Medina has gained more than money from his jobs and feels like working is a constructive way for students to become involved on campus. He always finds time to manage his hectic schedule and makes sure to prioritize. “A job,” he says, “keeps you grounded and makes you value your time more.” While campus life and academics may be overwhelming, these students and others have managed to incorporate a job into their schedule. The result from these experiences is overall positive as students learn outside of the classroom and develop skills that will help them in life after Swarthmore.
tHe pHOeNIX LIVING & ARTS
September 26, 2013
An owl’s flight from classical style: Ava Cotlowitz
STUDENT ARTIST SPOTLIGHT
Courtesy of Ava Cotlowitz
By DEBORAH KRIEGER Living & Arts Writer
Ava Cotlowitz ’15 is one of the most promising young painters at Swarthmore right now. Beginning at a young age, she studied classical traditions of art, followed by more experimental techniques in high school, and recently, she’s transferred from Bryn Mawr — which lacks an art department — to continue her studies and maturation as an artist. I had the pleasure of working alongside Ava last year in Figure Composition, a class that explored the human form, along with the composition and the structures required to create a work in oils. Among my classmates, her work stood out for its vivid use of color and immediately recognizable sense of individual style. While I sloshed around paint, trying to understand how to mix colors in oils, she worked slowly and methodically, creating paintings in a variety of dimensions that reminded me of the sun-glazed texture of David Hockney works. Her rendering of flesh tones alone evokes awe. I was extremely pleased to be able to interact with her and her works again for this profile and interview. Deborah Krieger: For my first question, how did you get started making art? Ava Cotlowitz: Well, I’ve been making art ever since I was little, just as a hobby. Then, after creating art for a very long time … I began to really want to pursue it as a more in-depth passion, so I enrolled in a fine arts school, and, at the age of twelve, I started becoming classically trained in painting … that’s how I got my start. DK: So in terms of fellow artists, artists you look up to, themes in your life, teachers you’ve had, what’s really inspired you? AC: I’m definitely inspired by a lot of artists, especially artists that do
portraiture and figure drawing and painting. So, specifically, Norman Rockwell, Alice Neel and Philip Pearlstein … I also really love a lot of Abstract Expressionist Art, like Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns. I like to follow new contemporary artists as well who are not as mainstream as those we’d find in galleries and museums, but are always coming up with new, fresh ideas. DK: For example? AC: Adrian Patout and Ivan Alifan are some of my favorites. I’d also say that I’m really inspired by my interactions with people. When I create art, I love finding the psychology in the subject matter that I’m working with, so if I’m painting a face or a figure, I’m really interested in exploring the dynamics of expression and how the contrast between lights and darks evoke certain moods and tones. DK: Are you looking to go into art as a career and do it professionally? AC: I want to paint professionally for as long as I can, but what I’m really excited about pursuing is a career in Arts Education, so I’m either hoping to become an elementary school art teacher and/or [to] work within the education department of a fine arts museum and bring art to students of all ages. DK: That’s great! If you weren’t making art, what would you be doing? What are your other interests? AC: Well, I teach all the time. I teach preschool at [The Haverford School] three days a week and I teach art lessons once a week at Overbrook Elementary School, and I also love to sketch, which I guess is still in line with creating art! When I have chance, I’ll go to an art museum or gallery exhibition. DK: So you transferred from Bryn Mawr this year. What was it about Swarthmore’s Art program in particular that made you want to study here?
AC: Bryn Mawr did not have an art program, so for my first two years of college I had to take art classes at Haverford College. I found that the art program there was lacking a community of artists that I felt in sync with, as well as instruction that I thought was in line with how I desired to learn as an artist. So I decided to take two art classes at Swarthmore and [to] check out the department … I took Landscape Painting and Figure Composition with Randall Exon … DK: He’s the best! AC: Yep! I immediately found that Randall became a professor [who] offered more than just a typical student-professor relationship. He became a devoted mentor who really facilitated the growth and development of my personal painting style as well as my own purpose for creating art. [Additionally,] I felt that the students in my art classes at Swarthmore were really committed to not only developing their own artistic identities and visions, but also providing their peers with positive feedback, constructive criticism and unwavering support. DK: Yeah, I noticed that in Figure Composition last year… AC: Yeah! DK: It was a great environment. AC: I really felt like my relationships with my peers facilitated my ability to hone my own skills as an artist as well as [my skills at painting] what I
desired to paint. It definitely felt like the right place to be. DK: What has been a really important challenge for you in terms of growth as an artist? What has been a really important watershed moment in terms of your artistic growth? AC: When I started pursuing art more seriously, I was taught how to paint classically. So …when I was twelve and thirteen, I [basically] spent each year creating one painting. It really required a lot of focus and self-motivation, especially because the way I painted was so photorealistic and precise. Because that was the way I came into painting as a fine art, it took me a while to accept that my painting did not have to be limited to classical rendering. It wasn’t until high school that I really started experimenting with other forms of art making. At this time, I had enrolled in another art school that focused on developing each student’s artistic identity through constant experimentation. I created large 8-by-7 foot multimedia abstract artworks, I created more realistic portraits, I sculpted and did a lot of figure drawing, so I really got to go all over the board; I think that opened my eyes to the excitement and possibility so inherent in art-making. So, as I’m in college now, I feel prepared to hone my style of creating art in a way that’s in line with my own instincts and desires.
DK: Last year, I noticed that you do a lot of great drip work in your art. Where did that come from? Because that’s very distinctively you. AC: That’s an interesting question … That definitely stemmed from my experimentation with abstract art in high school. When I paint, there’s not really any rhyme or rhythm to it. Generally, I love painting from a photograph or some kind of tangible source. I don’t necessarily like painting from my imagination. But when it comes to more abstract lines and textures in my work, they are very intuitive. They’re not something you can find in a picture … I would say that when I paint, I’m in a flow. I feel as though I’m completely absorbed in the act of painting and when it comes time to do so, I just let my hand and my mind sync up together and just do whatever [they want]. And from that, dripping has occurred. DK: What do you hope people who see your work take away from it? AC: I really hope, especially in my portraits and figure paintings, that people can connect to some sort of underlying psychology about my work … that they can identify with and/or acknowledge a facial expression or body movement that triggers emotion and feeling. My hope is that my work conjures a memwory or a sense of something familiar through the interplay of color, composition, and contrast.
LIVING & ARTS
September 26, 2013
Photo courtesy of fanpop.com
League of gamers creates Swarthmore legends By VICTOR GOMES Living &Arts Writer
In 2009, a studio called Riot Games released a closed beta that would soon take over the world of competitive gaming. League of Legends was seen as a spiritual successor to Defense of The Ancients (DOTA), a Warcraft III: Frozen Throne modification. It is a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) game, a genre which generally involves two teams that must defend their bases from
er players of a similar skill level. Though the game may seem simple on the surface, there are many intricacies, generally referred to as the meta-game. The meta-game, as Josh Ginzberg ’15 describes it, is “the set of strategies that the community has discovered to be most effective in the current balance of the game’s champions and global rules.” Chief among the appeal of League of Legends is its steep learning curve, which separates those who are truly dedicated and under-
Legends with his friends professionally. He played Shaco, a jester champion in the game, and tended to play jungle, a position which involved killing computer characters. Wheeler was ranked Diamond 1, the highest rank in the game, which put him among the top 200 players worldwide during the game’s Season 2. Wheeler plays games socially, so when his friends who played World of Warcraft started getting into League of Legends, he decided to join them, feeling pressure to play so
Sadie Rittman/ The Phoenix
Mastery of League of Legends necessitates commitment, but players are welcomed into a community of gamers.
the other team. The goal is to attack the enemy base, which can be reached by various different paths, if you can get past the turrets and minions, computer-controlled characters that defend the enemy’s base. There are different types of games, the most popular being – ranked games, which are more popular, and normal games. Within the games there are different team sizes, such as 3 vs. 3, 5 vs. 5, and uneven teams in nonranked games. As a player improves at League of Legends, their rank increases, starting at Bronze and ending at Diamond. Through this method, when a player competes, he or she is placed with oth-
stand the meta-game from casual, non-competitive players. Not everyone who plays League makes a big time commitment, but one needs to be put in a lot of time to move up in the ranks. Not only must players learn the general rules and tactics, but they also need to be able to play as different champions (aka characters) and in different positions. Becoming good at League of Legends is in itself no easy task, but becoming good and taking on a Swarthmore workload is an almost Herculean endeavor. Michael Wheeler ’16, better known as Dovienya in the League community, played League of
that he could keep up. Eventually they got to the point where they decided to take League seriously: they started to record and rewatch their games, and also to stream them live. While they turned down an invitation to the Major League Gaming competition in Anaheim, they later went on to compete in the League of Legends Championship Series Qualifiers, placing second. Within multiplayer games, communities inevitably form, but given a large following and balanced game mechanics, a professional gaming community can form. As a game grows in popularity, there may be competitions
and tournaments awarding prizes. This allows people to pursue the game as a job or at the very least, as an investment. Often, companies even sponsor tournaments and players. Games like Quake, Counter Strike, and Starcraft are all games with strong communities that foster professional players. During Season 2, Wheeler was taking a gap year for an internship, so he had much more time to play, but he was back at Swarthmore when his team decided to compete in the LCS Qualifiers. His team practiced three to four hours a day leading up to the qualifiers, which may not sound like much to some, but it should be noted that their practice sessions took place leading into finals week at Swarthmore. Most professional players have to make a choice of whether to take up League of Legends fulltime, or to stay in college, but for Wheeler it was an easy choice: he left the League of Legends community. He has gone on to play other games with his friends, and doesn’t see himself going back to the League, but he does appreciate the people he met during his brief time playing the game professionally. But the heavy time commitment doesn’t keep everyone at Swarthmore away, and there is a relatively active League of Legends community here (the Facebook group has an upwards of thirty members). Josh Ginzberg ’15 is a SAM and believes that though the time commitment can be a bit too much, it’s all about knowing how to manage your time and how long the games can take. For Julian Marin ’14, League is also how he keeps in touch with friends who have graduated, or who don’t go to Swarthmore. Currently, League of Legends’ status as a sport is one of the biggest debates in the video gaming community. Proponents of its sports status point to the number of viewers of the League of Legends Championship Series and other competitions, along with the fact that the United States now recognizes professional players as professional athletes, allow-
ing them to easily apply for a visa. On the topic, Wheeler said that, “I believe that games are sports,” clarifying that while less physical than traditional sports, games require no less mental involvement and the tactics surrounding them are equally vital. Though the traditional view seems to be that physical exertion is at the heart of sport, supporters of League’s status point out that the International Olympic Committee recognizes both chess and bridge as sports. Wheeler does say that League of Legends might make a boring spectator sport, because once one is familiar with the champions, the meta-game, and the skill levels of various players, it’s easy to predict how any given game will go. Even though a massive number of people play League of Legends, both players and nonplayers alike refer to the game’s community as “toxic”: “When I’m playing a game, if I don’t know the other people that I’m playing [with or against], I just see them as another face on the internet. I’m hesitant to interact because [the League of Legends community] is notorious for having a lot of negative players,” Marin said. Most players seem to agree that this negativity is caused by the anonymity of the internet, coupled with League’s competitive atmosphere. Riot Games does attempt to moderate unruly gamers with a system called the Tribunal, which allows players to moderate their peers in the hope of weeding out those who play League unfairly or seek to annoy their teammates. Even gamers who despise League cannot ignore the scale and scope of its success. Every day new players join, and every year its online presence increases almost exponentially. Some of this may be due to the game’s hype and relative newness, but its growth doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Already on an average day, there are over twelve million players; with over 1.6 million viewers for a single event, it won’t be surprising if you soon see League of Legends on actual TV.
September 26, 2013
Britney debuts, Miley scandalizes Britney’s new song didn’t manage to chart within the top 10 in its first week, but that’s okay—it’s difficult to sing while operating an electric razor. We don’t want that shave too close, so let’s count our blessings that COLE TURNER Britney didn’t ON THE TOP 40 scratch herself. 1. I’ll stifle my screams of rage about Britney’s Billboard snub with the clothes Miley Cyrus neglected to wear in the “Wrecking Ball” video. I’m sure someone thought that Miley Cyrus wearing even less clothing than her VMA getup seemed like a good idea. I am not one of those people. 2. Katy Perry’s “Roar” dropped off the top spot. Finally. I’m really losing respect for the idea of a “number one hit,” given the recent progression of number ones. After ten weeks of patriarchal dominance by “Blurred Lines,” we get this crappy, faux-inspirational ditty, followed up by a song about Liam Hemsworth. Meanwhile, Cher, a sexagenarian singer who literally can’t stop, releases a song that barely scratches the top hundred. #done 3. Where the hell does Lorde get off being sixteen years old and scoring a top five hit? I was trying to not veer into pedestrians during my driving test at her age. See what universal healthcare can do for society? Thanks, Lorde, for re-affirming every gay boy’s notion that life in Great Britain really is better. 4. Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” continues a glorious descent into a hopeful oblivion. When I imagine hell, I think of a particularly hot room in which one is forced to Gangnam Style with Lady Gaga while she
wears her (rotting) meat dress. The punishment for a misstep? “Blurred Lines” and “Sexy and I Know It” on an endless, repeating loop. For eternity. 5. I was initially happy for Avicii to score another hit. He, and his lawyers, have put together some quality collaborations in the past (sorry that copyright laws exist, Leona
I’m sure someone thought that Miley Cyrus wearing even less clothing than her VMA getup seemed like a good idea. I am not one of those people. Lewis). However, the sheer cheesiness of “Wake Me Up” leaves me hoping for Avicii’s next collab to resemble “Levels” in being mostly instrumental. As Mariah Carey demonstrated with her attempted acting career: stick to what has worked for you in the past ... or risk looking (or in this case, sounding) like an asshole. As the rest of this week’s top ten sees little change from last week, I’d like to take a moment to recommend a few tracks from lower down the charts that won’t prompt an ear in-
fection from sheer lack of quality. First, “Wings,” from Little Mix. Their sound borders on a 2010’s version of Destiny’s Child, but this track oozes with a sass only Simon Cowell could create. Well, some peon that’s deathly afraid of Simon Cowell, anyway. “Slow Down” from Selena Gomez prompted me to post a lamenting Facebook status earlier this week. Since when has our little Wizard from Waverly Place cemented herself as a legitimate pop princess? She even manages to sound like Dev as she incorporates The Cataracts’ obnoxious attribution lyric. I found myself searching for remnants of my dignity as I shrieked in my car when this song came on the radio. “True Love” welcomes Lily (Allen) Rose Cooper back to music. Well, sort of. P!nk tends to scream over most of her vocals on this track, but I’m happy that P!nk is collaborating with someone other than Nate Ruess. That unfortunate collaboration just gives me a reason to change the radio station. Finally, as if it wasn’t obvious enough, Britney’s “Work Bitch” deserves miles of praise. Should she fire her songwriter for attempting to rhyme “live in a big mansion” with “party in France”? Probably. However, she needs to focus on one legal battle at a time, as Madonna will be coming after her any day now for stealing her fake British accent. There’s only so much tackiness allowed at a time in pop. I hope they fight it out at an awards ceremony with a photo montage of their awkward kiss from a few years ago playing in the background.
‘The Infatuations’: voyeur to a murder
“The Infatuations” is a novel about death: literal death, literary death, the enduring power of the dead, and the inconvenience of their return; most immediately, it is about the death of Miguel Deverne. Miguel is half of a couple that Maria Dolz watchPHILLIP HARRIS es each day as they THE SCRIVENER breakfast at the same cafe. Neither envious nor scornful, Maria simply observes from a few tables away, deriving calm from their obvious, mutual infatuation. They are living proof that the “perfect couple” exists, that is, until Miguel is stabbed sixteen times, randomly, inexplicably, by a homeless man. The author, Javier Marias, is not a household name. Despite a prodigious number of literary awards, he has yet to achieve the stateside acclaim awarded to Murakami or Bolano; his work lacks the western pop culture references of the former and the posthumousness of the latter. His prose has an exacting austerity, his sentences packed with clauses amending, contradicting, or clarifying what came before. Plot is not his concern; as one character says of a Balzac novella, “what happened is the least of it...what matter are the possibilities that the novel’s imaginary plot communicates to us and infuses us with.” Much of “The Infatuations” is imaginary, hypothetical, metaphysical digressions or conjectures, and projection on the part of Maria, who proves an inconspicuously subjective narrator. In fact, the narrative is composed a bit like Marias’s sentences: a string of encounters, one bleeding into another, each amending, clarifying, or obfuscating what came before. When Maria finally interacts with the couple, the remaining half, she offers her condolences to Miguel’s widow, Luisa. To her surprise, Luisa reacts warmly, informing Maria that she and Miguel had in their own way returned her attention; to them, Maria was the “Prudent Young Woman.” Luisa invites Maria back to her home, where
THE PHOENIX LIVING & ARTS
they talk, or rather, Maria is talked at; later they are interrupted by guests, one a minor, comically pedantic historian, the other Javier Dias-Varela, a friend of Miguel’s. Through a chance encounter Maria meets Javier again: they begin sleeping together, or rather, having sex, as Maria never stays the night. It is when she does stay the night that she overhears something that suggests Miguel’s death was not so random or inexplicable. It is the last time Maria and Javier sleep together, but not the last time she desires him. Our experience of these events is filtered through Maria, and she constructs for us entire conversations: between Miguel and Javier, Miguel and Luisa. Conversations are splintered with conjectured thoughts projected by Maria: Miguel’s last frantic moments before his death and Javier’s self-reflection. We process these conjectures, simultaneously dismissing and internalizing them; they are no less valid than the stories Luisa or Miguel or others tell. As Maria says at one point, “Everything becomes a narrative and sounds fictitious even if it’s true.” Furthermore, nestled within the primary story are other tales, Balzac’s “Colonel Chabert” and fragments of “Macbeth” and “The Three Musketeers.” Dias-Varela has a love for the monologue, and his pre-coital time with Maria is spent expounding these narratives; Maria for her part placidly listens, content to watch his lips. Fictions intertwine, impressing themselves upon one another; the works of Dumas and Shakespeare become allegory for the novel’s events, or at least whatever version of events is related by the novel’s characters. Something of a non-entity, Maria is privy to all angles of the story, except, of course, Miguel’s. But for all that, she is tertiary: to Luisa an earpiece for grief, to Javier a carnal diversion. She is a substitute, something which seems not to bother her: “I know that it wouldn’t offend me to be a substitute, because we are all of us substitutes for someone.” And
should that someone cease to be, for reasons unattributable to, perhaps not even entertained by, the substitute, the way is then open. Sometime we profit from tragedy just as much as, perhaps more than, we suffer from it. The book is in one sense about spectatorship: inured to media violence, “we live quite happily with a thousand unresolved mysteries that occupy our minds for ten minutes in the morning and are then forgotten without leaving so much as a tremor of grief.” Ostensibly, we desire certainty; in reality, it is the perpetual uncertainty of the present that sustains us. It is this uncertainty that allows us to weave a web of conjectures, a film of what-maybe we lay over the future. Maria is bound to Dias-Varela by uncertainty; it is he who phones when he desires her presence, who inclines his head towards the bedroom when he has finished talking. The one certainty, death, we avoid contemplating; its finality resists conjecture. The dead we read about, those bodies that, like Miguel’s, pop up in newspaper clippings, reassure us: “Fortunately the dead man they’re showing us here is someone else and not me, so I’m safer than I was yesterday.” We may retain our uncertainty for the time being. In “Out of Sheer Rage,” Geoff Dyer wrote, “Life is bearable even when it’s unbearable: that is what’s so terrible, that is the unbearable thing about it.” Javier Marias would perhaps amend that to say that life is bearable when the dead oblige us by not returning as Balzac’s Colonel Chabert does. Only when they persist, “palely loitering,” is it terrible. But the present rarely lets them persist; that is its awful power “which crushes the past more easily as the past recedes.” The trick is to avoid doing what will persist, what will resist the present; the trick is to do as Maria does, to watch rather than act. For the only thing you can be guilty of—the only thing that will haunt you—is “picking up a weapon...everything else is contingency, things one imagines.”
Knowing our cells I have recently been reading a collection of essays by biological researcher and physician Lewis Thomas, essays which have been KATHRYN BARRON making me wonder: XX ON SCIENCE Why don’t we have closer communication with (or at least awareness of) the cells we are comprised of? It occurred to me, while learning of the precise anatomical structure of lungs, bones, and nerves, to ask, “Why didn’t I know all of this already? Why should people have to research the inner workings of their bodies?” It may be that it is simply a problem of separation. The brain doesn’t know how the circulatory system works because it isn’t part of the circulatory system. A neuron can’t automatically understand a myocardial cell in the heart functions, because the two have no contact. But this is actually a poor excuse for our bodily
Wouldn’t it be rather gratifying, though, to have just a little bit more intercommunication and cognizance? ‘Hello, white blood cells! How are you today?’ ignorance; for, if it were the case, neurons would at least know how each other work. This is obviously not true, as no one possesses any innate knowledge of the nervous system, and the brain, which is a ball of madly-firing neurons, works with no awareness of this fact. I reflect some more on this concept, and I can’t help but think that it seems rather unfair that I should be so cut off from my physiology. Perhaps, however, it would not be such a great idea to be so closely involved with the minutiae of my constant anatomical workings either, since, as Thomas points out in his essay “Autonomy”, “If I were informed tomorrow that I was in direct communication with my liver, and could now take over, I would become deeply depressed. ... Nothing would save me and my liver, if I were in charge.” I have to admit, he has a point. Knowledge of (and authority over) each and every one of our cells would effectively bury us. In the end, I must acknowledge that the control and running of my systems is beyond my present capabilities. And I appreciate that! Wouldn’t it be rather gratifying, though, to have just a little bit more intercommunication and cognizance? “Hello, white blood cells! How are you today?” It’s altogether curious, don’t you agree, that even the means to contact my own cells is also beyond me. When I say me though, I am referring to—hang on! My cells actually converse with each other every second, so what part of me is being excluded exactly? Oh, wait a minute! Is it, just maybe, only my thoughts that are disconnected from my cells? Hmmm....
September 26, 2013 PAGE 10
Unprepared, unaided, alone with my paper As we approach the end of the fourth week of classes, many of us are probably starting to feel the pressure that we associate with Swat academics. This escalation of academic stress can be
NEHMAT KAUR DUNIYA SHUNIYA especially hard to deal with as a freshman, especially if a student’s high school education did not prepare them for the specific rigor of an American college. While it’s commendable that Swarthmore accepts students from various kinds of school systems, both international and domestic, it can often be the case that such students are not given the appropriate support needed to adapt to Swat’s academic rigor. Some current Swatties went their entire high school careers without writing an academic paper or taking a formal examination. And while the college provides resources for students to hone the skills required for both these activities, it doesn’t necessarily have a system in place to develop these skills from scratch. Consequently, once pass/fail is over and freshman spring arrives, students can find themselves a little under-prepared to earn good grades, or just find themselves trudging along a steeper learning curve than others in their year. I had never written an academic paper before coming to Swarthmore. My school taught me to write long essays without supplementary material to ace three hour examinations,
but it did not teach me how to plan ahead and structure a paper. It took me all of freshman year, three writing courses, large amounts of coffee and anxiety, and some disappointing grades to settle into a sustainable rhythm at Swarthmore. In addition to the limitations posed by a lack of writing and/or examination taking skills, some schooling systems are not as insistent upon regular assignments and reading as Swarthmore is. Nobody ever accused a Swattie of being good at time management, but learning to deal with competing priorities for the first time or feeling the weight of every assignment affect your grades can be a crippling feeling that not everyone is equipped to deal with. When you’re a freshman feeling overwhelmed by everything Swat has to offer, it can be challenging to pinpoint what you need help with or even who to go to. It’s not that resources to help students with writing, studying, time management and picking classes do not exist. But they are often generalized for all students at Swarthmore and assume a certain level of competence that can overlook the limits of some. Swarthmore does not need to establish entirely new institutions or systems to help a specific set of students, but rather consolidate and tweak the existing ones into a more efficient and helpful version. When it comes to academic advice, most freshmen naturally turn towards their advisors. It is important to have advisors who understand where their advisees
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writers may request that their group affiliation be included. While The Phoenix does not accept anonymous submissions, letters and op-eds may be published without the writer’s name in exceptional circumstances and at the sole discretion of the Editorial Board. An editorial represents the views of a majority of members of the Editorial Board, which includes all editors except Copy and Photo. Please submit letters to: letters@swarthmorephoenix. com or The Phoenix Swarthmore College 500 College Avenue Swarthmore, PA 19081 Please report corrections to: firstname.lastname@example.org Letters, corrections and news tips may also be submitted online to the paper by clicking “Contact” on the Phoenix website.
are coming from, so they can direct them to the resources they’ll need to do well at Swarthmore. There should also be some kind of uniformity to smooth over the vast differences in advising styles adopted by various professors here. While some are perfectly willing to listen to all the minute details of your life, others are happy to glance at your add/drop and send you on your way. This can lead to a student not taking the right courses required for developing the reading and writing skills they might lack, or taking on the kind of courses that they simply are not prepared for. This kind of experimentation is a part of the first pass/fail semester but if you flounder during these first three months, then you may find yourself having a hard time the following semester when grades do start to matter. Obviously, a student’s advisor
is not the only one responsible for a student’s academic decisions and one can seek out the many resources that the campus offers for time management and writing. The Time Management Workshop held at the beginning of the year may be enough to guide the transition from a rigorous high school life to Swarthmore’s, but doesn’t necessarily teach how to develop and then maintain these skills if you’ve never had to exercise them before. For someone who never had to deal with a regular workload, or is used to working periodically during exam periods, it can be hard to inculcate such habits while dealing with the multiple stressors that accompany the big transitioning to college. SAMs and WAs are a wonderful and well-used resource on campus but they should not
be expected to teach a student how to study or write academic papers, respectively. And WAMs are assigned to those that demonstrate an acute need for help, but are limited in how many students they can take on. Admittedly, these skills take time to develop and won’t sprout after one semester of attempting to learn them but it is important to get on the right track as soon as possible. It took me a year to learn how to manage my time and learn how to write an adequate paper, and now I’m learning how to go from adequate to good. Students’ backgrounds should not adversely affect their academic success, especially at a place like Swarthmore where most people are willing to help each other improve in different ways. We just need to get the right resources to the people that need them.
A failure of e-communication Nobody at Swarthmore replies to email. Everyone at the College is guilty, including me. Sure, there are some administrators, faculty members, staff, and students who never forget to reply to any email directed at them, but they are the exception rather than the rule. After coming back here from the working world this summer,
TYLER BECKER THE SWARTHMORE CONSERVATIVE people not replying to emails annoys me more than ever before. My workplace this summer had a simple system that everyone followed in the 300-person organization. Emails sent before 4 p.m. were replied to before leaving for the day, and emails sent after 4 p.m. were replied to by the next day at noon, unless the email was urgent. These e-mails were always marked “urgent.” At Swarthmore, getting a reply to an email even the next day would be a major improvement. Over the summer, I sent one Swarthmore dean an email that she replied to over a month later, during the second week of this semester. Another Swarthmore dean has still not replied to an email exchange we had months ago, even scheduling a time delayed email to be sent on the first day of her vacation over the summer. She clearly has no interest in talking to me anymore. I still haven’t received a reply to my short complaint about the bad dryers in my dorm I sent last year. Either that’s mismanagement, or blatant ignoring. Other students are another story. I left electric cables in Olde Club one time last year, only to have the person in charge ignore my first email asking if they were found. The next email I sent elicited an angry response, as if I was supposed to take his non-answer as a “no, they were not found.” I
had no idea he had seen my email. Friends of mine have complained about students not replying to emails that are directed at new members of student groups, even when a clear “PLEASE REPLY” or link to a Google doc is included in the message. It only gets worse as the four years go on. Replies to emails end up coming in quick, awkward conversations in Sharples when you see the person who sent you an email and realize you never sent a response. Sometimes a simple “yes” that you will be able to attend a meeting is necessary. Why could that not have been done when you saw the email first? Administrative assistants who help run academic departments are the quickest with replying to emails. Professors are probably the second best, surprising considering how busy they often are with research, families, and many different students and classes. You also get to know your professors and how best to contact each of them. While studentto-student email etiquette could change, the biggest problem is with administrators at Swarthmore. Hired specifically to make the Swarthmore experience better for each student, replying to emails is an essential job function. The reply may be to just set up a meeting or acknowledge receipt of the email. If the email reply can be handled by an executive assistant for non-confidential matters, then that should be explored.
The email problems I have experienced are at the very least rude, and sometimes constitute a serious neglect of duties. After all the turmoil last semester and the many grievances Swarthmore students had for the administration, you have to wonder if not replying to email is just one of the many duties Parrish has neglected over the years. In order to solve the problem, the Swarthmore administration should adopt a strict email etiquette policy. If a student, staff or faculty member sends an email before 5 p.m. one day, the email should be replied to within two days by 5 p.m., excluding weekends. More urgent emails should be marked with as urgent by the students, or by putting the email subject in allcaps. At least letting the sender know the email has been received constitutes a reply. Swarthmore students would be wise to also follow this policy out of courtesy for their fellow students. In the real world, everyone has to reply to the emails they receive in the workplace in a timely fashion. Swarthmore should be no different. Adopting an email etiquette policy enforces what already should be common courtesy. Until such a policy is adopted, I’d recommend adding a “read receipt” to all emails you send the administration to compel a response. At least you’ll know you are being ignored.
THE PHOENIX OPINIONS
September 26, 2013
Sound and fury, signfiying nothing I have discovered that I elicit three types of responses when I say that Shakespearean plays are some of the greatest, worldliest and most touching works of lit-
AMY KIM LITERALLY LITERARY erature in existence. The first reaction is that of indifference, which I can accept. The second is a glorious combination of near-hyperventilating enthusiasm, minutes of furious discussion about favorite plays, lines, and characters, and subsequent exclamations of “wherehave-you-been-all-my-life?” I find the third reaction, however, a bit troubling. This particular response is a bubbly laugh accompanied by “Shakespeare? Why Shakespeare instead of something more appealing, like Harry Pottuh?” The Harry Potter books are indeed novels of lasting remembrance, mementos of childhood. This does not mean in any way that Harry Potter is intended for children, as one could make quite a vigorous argument otherwise. No, I mean that it could have been the story of The Boy Who Lived that created interest in reading for many of this generation, introduced a world that was so far-fetched yet still contained familiar elements of reality to serve as a bridge for believability (like family, nerve, and that chemistry professor you despise with all your heart), and perhaps reward-
ed a kid with glasses of her own after toiling nights away flashlight in hand. But Shakespeare is so much more. There is sound reasoning behind this. Exquisite prose, plot, and numberless philosophical implications aside, Shakespearean plays serve as absorbing reflections of this world - is there a manifestation of a conflicted individual like Hamlet or feminist personas like Beatrice, Viola, or Ophelia? This is not only so in a mimetic aspect but also in a personal one: the plays serve as mirrors for the readers themselves. For if there is anything unique about Shakespeare, it’s that his characters seem at times both larger and realer than life. How you perceive them can indicate what kind of person you are. For example, if you were to judge Lady Macbeth as a simple murderer, such description would be more telling of you than of her. Individual perception of Shakespeare reflects our own characters, indicative of the value the plays hold in English literature. One could say that this is a trait that all renowned characters of literature share, but I believe Shakespearean roles take it to a higher degree. As a mere freshman, I am admittedly not as knowledgeable as many in the field, but for me, the roles have always seemed to be heavier, more loaded with intricacies pertaining to personality, will, societal custom, gender, hierarchy – it would
take ages to list all the fine layers of a Shakespearean character. In essence, such uncertainties take part in the very beauty of literary analysis. The other day I was asked about the frustrating element of literature, the fact that there never seems to be a clear answer. But if literature is the study of the joys, sufferings, endurance of living in all intricacies, has life ever given a clear-cut answer? “But Shakespeare is outdated and irrelevant.” Eyeball, Skim Milk, Obscene, Epileptic, Wormhole, and Alligator are whimsical examples of the vast collection of words in English that are of Shakespeare’s invention. Indeed, without Shakespeare, we wouldn’t have the language we so use today. Even Sherlock Holmes would have to accredit “The game is afoot!” to Henry IV. “He’s wordy.” Wordiness is subjective. And if anything, the intricacy in detail and delicate phrasings serve testament to insightful perception and expert skill in translating raw experience into written word and can only communicate a most profound admiration for all things in nature. “The translations of certain words on the other side of the page make it seem like reading a foreign language.” This can definitely be a drawback for some, but there is an underlying history and culture that needs to be taken in context, an attention that applies to all texts of note in any field. Essentially, it is minutes of
attention paid to Elizabethan-era lexicon versus missing out on an enchanting (or occasionally lewd) aspect of the story: you have got to choose your battles. “It’s so boring.” You’re boring. “I don’t really care about it.” You are not alone. Voltaire called the plays an “enormous dunghill,” and Tolstoy believed them “crude, immoral, vulgar, and senseless;” Tolkien stated he “disliked cor-
If there is anything unique about Shakespeare, it’s that his characters seem at times both larger and realer than life. dially” Shakespeare during his English literature studies. Powerfully, Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw claimed, “There is no eminent writer, not even Sir Walter Scott, whom I despise so entirely as I despise Shakespeare. It would be positively a relief to me to dig him up and throw stones at him.” But not everyone seems to think so. Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays the eponymous hero of
BBC’s Sherlock, will play Hamlet on the London stage in the autumn of 2014. Tom Hiddleston brings Loki fans to Shakespeare in his portrayal of Hal in PBS’s The Hollow Crown, a single chronological narrative of Richard II, Henry IV, Parts I & II, and Henry V. True, their audiences may be composed more of Hiddlestoners and Cumberbitches than Shakespeare enthusiasts, but it all boils down to the fact that Shakespeare isn’t an outmoded author and that there is a reason why theatrical performances, analytical papers, and constant cultural references of his plays exist. And though it is not intended for a universal liking, those who possess an appreciation for the writing can attest to its cultural, literary, philosophical, and definitely useful significance. These plays unravel majestic stories featuring murder, treachery, mistaken identities, feminism, gloriously witty banter, homosexual undertones, quests to attain the unattainable, family dynamics, expectations and an admirable defiance of them. They are fictional tales that nevertheless bestow relevant and discerning insight into problems of reality, works that cannot be described as anything other than the canonical sublime of literature. The worth of being exposed to Shakespeare is simply inestimable and kindles a knowledge that is of value in any academic atmosphere, a truth about which the audience will be forced to take note.
Reinventing McCage As Louis Kahn put it, “You shouldn’t be forced to put people through the library. It should be just something in its structure which says, ‘What a wonderful place to go,’ and of course, the location has much to do with it, and its convenience has much to do
JONATHAN MOLLOY OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR with it, but essentially, it is its nature which you are after to convey. Glare is bad in the library; wall space is important. Little spaces where you can adjourn with a book are tremendously important. So you might say that the world is put before you through the books.” McCabe Library is a place where I used to study every day. I went there, I have decided in hindsight, simply because of its gifted title, “library.” I did not go there because it is a beautiful or inspiring place to work. I went there because I felt that I was supposed to be there. If you’re stressed and need to get things done, go to the library, my conscience told me, as I am sure that countless college students have told themselves. It was as if the library was to schoolwork as church is to worship. And so I found myself, alongside many other students, habitually oppressed by what really is an
unfortunate building. The building stands atop the main campus hill like a medieval military barracks. It has windows large enough only to be arrow slits, and stone walls thick enough to withstand cannon-fire. It is a fort, not a library, the interior feeling more stifling than open. Natural light and views of the outside are luxuries never quite realized. There are glimpses of trees and sky through the barracks windows, but odd placement or non-existence often muddles any opportunities for relaxing by a large and light-filled window. In fact, the one large window that might have achieved this faces west, meaning a low and unforgiving sun renders it almost completely unusable in the late afternoon, the most popular time to work. Students are left only with carrels arranged along the exterior walls, probably according to a logic of space efficiency, but without consideration of window placement. They feel a little like airplane seats: you can always see out a window, but it’s never in the right place. Thus, for the most part, there is no natural light inside McCabe. A dim yellow light illuminates the space instead, a light that is warm enough to make you sleepy, but uncomfortable enough to keep
Students studying on the main level of McCabe. you awake. It is an anxious light. The organization of these poorly lit and anxious spaces, too, follows a backwards logic. Large open areas posing as collaborative or interactive spaces are positioned so that if any hope to use them as such, they will transgress apparent quiet-study policies. Not only are they placed on floors designated as “quiet,” they are open to the entire floor so that student voices can be heard throughout. Even if someone finds repose in the silence of the library, despite its spatial shortcomings, the simple arrange-
ment of the building might even deny that. McCabe library, instead of fulfilling that inspiring form of Kahn’s “library,” stifles it. But it is the library nonetheless, and therefore bears this responsibility. The school must reimagine the building as the celebration of inspired students and not the defense of precious books, where the books are that which inspires and not that which must be defended. There must be more natural light and access to views of the outside, more programmatically
Courtesy of Swarthmore College
specific spaces that are collaborative, intimate, completely silent, or altogether social, more seating that isn’t altogether depressing, and it needs a place for reading! (What kind of library doesn’t have a reading room?) McCabe needs to become a place where students study because it makes them feel inspired, or calm, or creative, not because they feel guilty if they don’t. Students should think, like Kahn imagined, “what a wonderful place to go.” Maybe then it can rightfully fulfill its reputation as a place of wor[k]ship.
DiCanio departs Sunderland
The sacking of Paolo DiCanio after only 13 games in charge seems a little risky but it is completely reasonable when you consider just how bad the man is at his job and as a human being. Paolo has been removed from his position in charge of SunJAMIE IVEY OUT OF LEFT FIELD derland after a run of appalling results and a player revolt that had been brewing since the end of last season. It’s almost a surprise that it took this long since he was a poor pick in the first place. The firing of DiCanio makes complete sense even though the season is only five games old. The first few games of the season have left Sunderland with only one point and bottom of the league even below the promoted Championship sides. Sunderland have carried on where it left off last season and that is near the bottom of the table because the team has been simply awful in every aspect of their play. While DiCanio professed that his method of harsh discipline and rigorous fitness training would fix all the tactical problems that Sunderland were having and that plainly did not work since Sunderland have been unable to either score goals or to keep them out. What struggles they have hd on the pitch though are nothing compared to the struggles that have happened off the pitch in the last few months. DiCanio decided his inability to get wins at the end of last season was not because of his tactical ineptitude and backwards training techniques that solely focused on fitness over anything else but was the fault of the players he had at his disposal. Therefore the summer included a gigantic spending spree that ended with no less than
15 new faces arriving at the club while 18 players left. That meant that only 10 players survived the cuts made at the end of last season and were there to provide any continuity for the club. DiCanio got his way by signing a large number players that he thought would fit his rigid system and managed to get Sunderland fans excited about those players despite the fact that many of them were not inspiring signings. The top signing of the summer was obviously Giaccherini who should still be a magnificent player despite the coming managerial change but the most obvious flaw in the string of signings was the lack of a goalkeeper to replace the departing Mignolet (who kept them up last season after bringing in DiCanio didn’t reverse their fortunes). Mignolet was too good to stay at Sunderland and clearly had to move on for his own career but Sunderland seemed amazed when he left and hadn’t figured out an acceptable replacement. They signed Vito Mannone but that wasn’t a great replacement and in the end settled with Westwood the reserve keeper. There was no uniform strategy to DiCanio’s buying this summer and the big problems of not enough goals scored were not solved through the signing of Fabio Borini nor was the defence strengthened through the signing of several out of contract players from Serie A. But what really pushed Sunderland to get rid of DiCanio was that he suffered a player revolt because harsh discipline does not work when you’re dealing with very wealthy young men with big egos. Apparently the players went to the Chief Executive and refused to play for the team anymore unless DiCanio was fired. A player revolt was sure to come with DiCanio’s hands on, strict approach. But it would be interesting to know who
led the players in their meeting: if it was one of the 10 that remained from the previous season then it would make sense but among those were Phil Bardsley and Sebastian Larsson who had previously been either banned or criticised by DiCanio so if they led the revolt it may have been a case of sour grapes. On the other hand if it were one of the 15 signed by DiCanio it would be a much more interesting and complex situation. Surely some of those 15 were among the group since a player revolt would have to include most of the team. Those new players were signed by DiCanio and presumably bought into his ideas when they joined the club (they must have known what they were getting into with him as coach) but some of them at least would have been unhappy with the reality of the situation. Whatever the case may be with the player revolt what happened is that the players managed to force their dictator out and showed what power they have. The club listened to the players, along with the poor results (3 wins in 13 games), in order to make a decision about their manager’s future. I don’t really like the idea of sacking managers so soon into their contracts as generally it doesn’t give a manager the chance to mould the team into what they want but this case deserves special attention because it wasn’t a good fit from the start. The sacking of DiCanio was something that was inevitable due to his controversial style that might be forgiven in a lower league but with the amount of money at stake for a club in the Premier League it was unfeasible to keep him in charge. He will have to adapt his style if he wants to manage in a top league with top level players because making enemies with everyone at the club is the opposite of how to make a team successful.
September 26, 2013 PAGE 12
SCOREBOARD WOMEN’S SOCCER Date 9/22
Score Highlights T 0-0
No goals were scored today.
#19 MEN’S SOCCER Date 9/21
Score Highlights W 1-0
Geoff Stewart scored a goal.
WOMEN’S FIELD HOCKEY Date 9/21
Score Highlights L 1-2
Nia Jones scored Swat’s lone goal.
WOMEN’S VOLLEYBALL Date 9/21
Score Highlights W 3-0
Danielle Sullivan had 19 kills.
Tyler Alexander/The Phoenix
Published on Sep 27, 2013